MASS SUPPORT FOR DEMOCRACY IN SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA AND THE QUEST FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
Author: NICHOLAS O. ALOZIE, KATHY THOMAS and PATIENCE AKPAN-OBONG
Published in IJED, Vol. 10 No. 1
Given the high level of acrimony about liberal democracy in Africa, especially the fact that democracy has failed to deliver on either of the twin dividends of good governance or economic prosperity, questions arise as to what reservoir of support there is for the democratic system of government in the Continent. This paper measures and explains levels of support for democracy in Sub-Saharan Africa. Measures of support for democracy are developed. Micro-level survey data generated by the 2013 Spring Pew Global Attitudes Survey across six Sub-Saharan African countries are analyzed using OLS multivariate regression specifications and applying country fixed-effects. We find a fairly moderate level of support for democracy, although the levels of support vary across countries. Moreover, while many factors are linked to support for democracy, including economic performance, political performance associated with delivery of freedoms and civil liberties is a particularly crucial ingredient of support. Support for democracy in Sub-Saharan Africa is largely intrinsic. Sub-Saharan Africans will support democracy which delivers on both its principles and good governance. Implications for sustainable economic development are discussed.